Government
6:38 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Illinois shifts attention to health care provisions

Governor Pat Quinn says the Supreme Court ruling on health care means Illinois can move forward with implementation of key provisions under the federal law. The governor says Illinois will go along with the expansion of Medicaid. Quinn also says lawmakers need to resume work on setting up an insurance exchange.

On Thursday, Quinn had this to say about setting up an exchange.

"We have already been working on this issue. And we’ve already been able to acquire resources and get people together to carry this mission out" Quinn said.

State Representative Frank Mautino, D- Spring Valley, has led the exchange effort in Springfield.  He recently stated it would be difficult for lawmakers to meet the November deadline.  He suggested moving forward on a federal-state partnership for an exchange. Governor Quinn has also hinted that the state will partner with the federal government to run the program. And he didn't rule out creating the exchange by executive order.

Medicaid expansion

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka warns the Medicaid expansion could cost the state up to $2.4 billion over the next six years.

"There is no doubt that this will cost the state, the only question is how much?" Topinka said.

During the first three years of the law, which will be fully implemented in 2014, the federal government will cover the entire cost of the expansion.

Impact on small business

An advocacy group for small businesses is criticizing the Supreme Court's decision on health care.  Kim Clarck Maisch is with the Illinois Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses. She says they'll continue to fight the Affordable Care Act.

"We believe strongly that once ObamaCare is fully implemented, which starts in 2014, that this will have a devastating impact on small businesses and their health insurance" Maisch said.

James Ciesla is a health-care economist at Northern Illinois University.  He says there will be some bumps in the road for small businesses in the early stages. He adds that implementing a health-insurance exchange should make things easier for business owners. But he says a lot of that depends on how well the exchanges work because it's an untested process.